Google and Asian firms including SingTel laying US-Japan underwater cable

Google is partnering five Asian telecom firms including SingTel to build a US$300 million (S$375.09 million) underwater cable across the Pacific Ocean in a bid to meet surging Internet use. -- PHOTO: AFP
Google is partnering five Asian telecom firms including SingTel to build a US$300 million (S$375.09 million) underwater cable across the Pacific Ocean in a bid to meet surging Internet use. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - Google is partnering five Asian telecom firms including SingTel to build a US$300 million (S$375.09 million) underwater cable across the Pacific Ocean in a bid to meet surging Internet use.

The project, named FASTER, would see the 9,000-km fibre-optic cable stretch from two points in Japan to the United States, with extensions to other Asian locations later on, the companies said.

In the US, the cable would be extended to link major cities on the west coast including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle, they said.

There are several hundred underwater telecom cables that connect various points in the world.

But "the FASTER cable system has the largest design capacity ever built on the Trans-Pacific route, which is one of the longest routes in the world", Mr Choi Woohyong, chairman of the project's executive committee, said in the statement.

Also involved in the project are Singapore's SingTel, Japanese mobile carrier KDDI, China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, and Malaysia's Global Transit, the statement said.

Japan's NEC would build the system, which is expected to come into service in the first half of 2016, the firms said.

Google has been involved in similar projects before, including a 2008 deal to build an ultra-high-speed submarine cable to carry Internet and other traffic between Japan and the US.

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